BY NANCY NAHOLI AND MERCY KIHUGU
The County Government of Nakuru under the leadership of H.E Governor Lee Kinyanjui has in its endeavor to operationalize the Big Four Agenda on Affordable Housing made deliberate efforts to empower stakeholders in the built environment to help lower the cost of construction.
Project costs are determined by a number of parameters that include project time, project materials cost, cost of labor and also the legal and administrative structures and frameworks in place.
In order to lower costs of construction in as far as materials are concerned and to offer variety in the industry, the devolved unit has initiated training and sensitization of stakeholders in the production of interlocking blocks as an alternative material for use in walling.
Working with partners in the sector, the administration has provided the capacity to the youth and other organized groups by working through the housing cooperative sector.
In Kaptembwa the Vision IV Youth Housing Cooperative Society Ltd has been identified to offer training in ABMT in partnership with the Department of Land, Housing and Physical Planning under the Directorate of Housing.
Training takes place in their demonstration yard in Kaptembwa Ward.
Other centers where training takes place include the Kagoto Vocational Training Centre in Kiamaina Ward in Bahati Subcounty, Mirera VTC in Hell’s Gate Ward in Naivasha Subcounty and Molo VTC in Molo Ward of Molo Subcounty.
These VTCs have been established in collaboration between the Department responsible for Vocational training and Youth as well at the department of Land and each has been equipped with a Hydra form and a Makiga block making machine.
The department has also played a key role in providing prototype house designs targeting low-income areas and informal settlements.
The CECM in charge Mr Francis Mwangi said the construction materials and prototype designs are cost-effective, innovative, environmentally friendly as well as improve the quality of buildings.
“Considering that the building materials account for about 50 percent of the total construction cost,ABMT will be instrumental in lowering the cost of construction since the new technology can reduce material cost by 40 percent,”Said the CECM
In addition to the CECM’s statement, the Chief Officer, Judyleah Waihenya said the interlocking blocks are easy to produce, sustainable, and affordable. She encouraged housing cooperatives to liaise with the department to have its members trained.
The Director of Housing Arch Maruhi Maina stated that other initiatives being introduced to housing cooperative members include architectural scale model, making appreciation sessions as well as benchmark visits to manufacturers and factories of other alternative materials in the country as well as visits to projects completed using alternative materials.